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Mexican national stands trial for Illegal voting in Texas

February 7, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Mexican national stands trial for Illegal voting in Texas

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A Texas county along with the Texas Attorney General are putting a Mexican national on trial Monday for taking part in the Illegal Voting in two local elections.

The 37-year-old suspect, Rosa Maria Ortega, was charged in November 2015 for Illegal Voting and is now going to trial for the offense — which is considered a felony in Texas, NBC Fort-Worth reported.

The Tarrant County indictment revealed that Ortega is accused of voting in the November 2012 general election, and in the May 2014, primary run-off election. According to the indictment, she voted even though “she knew she was not a United States citizen.”

Ortega, who lives in Grand Prairie, Texas, had previously applied to vote in the U.S. but she was rejected when she admitted that she was not a citizen. She reapplied again five months later and stated that she was a citizen.

According to prosecutors, Ortega did not vote this past November. She was indicted by a Tarrant County grand jury in November 2015.

The Texas Penal Code stated that the crime of Illegal Voting is committed where a person:

– votes or attempts to vote in which the person knows the person is not eligible to vote;
– votes or attempts to vote more than once in an election;
– knowingly impersonates another and votes or attempts to vote as the impersonated person;
– or marks or attempts to mark another person’s ballot without the consent

Non-U.S. citizen Rosa Maria Ortega was indicted in Tarrant County for illegally voting in Dallas County

The offense is considered a second-degree felony unless the individual is convicted of the lesser crime of attempt, which would be a state jail felony.

Texas legislators passed the law in 2011, and it took effect in January 2012.

Ortega faces trial in Tarrant County Criminal District Court Number 3, with the Honorable Judge Robb Catalano.

In October, just before the November presidential election, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a news release warning poll watchers hoping to deter voter fraud and that they could be violating federal voting laws. The officials advised them against communicating or “challenging voters.”

Days after he was inaugurated, President Trump vowed to call for a voter fraud investigation, including investigating those who illegally voted because they were not citizens.

The 35-year-old faces 20 years in prison if convicted of Illegal Voting

True the Vote President, Catherine Engelbrecht, stated: “I mean, if it’s so easy to be a CNN, to affirm that there are no concerns about illegal votes, and non-citizen voting isn’t something that we should look at, then let’s get CNN to ask the government to show us how they can tell us that non-citizens aren’t registered. Show us the process that they use to screen federal registration applications.”

Engelbrecht said no one has looked into it because when states ask, they get sued. “We’ve institutionalized the fraud, we’ve made it this taboo that no one’s allowed to speak about because this is what happens. It’s a political minefield…But somebody’s got to walk through it, or at some point, we’re going to find ourselves in a banana republic where votes don’t matter, and then you can’t unring that bell. We’re perilously close to that point now,” Engelbrecht continued.

She added that “serves all of our interests” to ask the questions that should be asked about how many illegal voters are on the voter rolls.

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